Now is probably a good time to future proof ourselves and investigate how we can work smarter and get our purpose and priority management in alignment. With the summer season upon us there might just be enough time to take our eye of fighting the alligators and take a little time to clear the swamp.  And it is becoming critical for many of us, whether we know it or not! Here’s why….

The latest UK Commission for Employment and Skills Report  suggests that 10 million people need to improve their skills if the UK is to achieve its ambition of being in the top eight countries in the world for skills, jobs and productivity by 2020.

If you are in UK, you are working in the 6th largest economy but only the 13th most competitive!

The report states:

‘The UK remains the 6th largest economy in the world and the 4th largest in the OECD (behind the USA, Japan and Germany). It also remains regionally concentrated with London and the South East accounting for a third of GDP. The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report ranks the UK as the 13th most competitive in the world (down one place from 2008/09, itself down three places from 2007/08).’

If you have not seen the excellent 6 minute video called ‘Shift Happens’ or ‘Now You Know’, I urge you to open yourself up to it. We are living in ‘Exponential Times’: The plates are shifting and change is no longer merely incremental. In this environment our own thinking can nop longer be just incremental.

Again, back to that report:

‘Despite our (UK Economy) progress in skills attainment, too few adults still possess the skills needed to succeed in tomorrow’s labour market or the motivation, confidence and opportunity to gain them.’

You and I cannot directly impact the size and prosperity of the UK economy in these international league tables. We can, however, do something about our own place within our career and our own world.

So, here’s a few suggestions:

  1. Take stock now. Don’t wait for someone to do it to you. Do your own skills / behaviour / belief audit with trusted friends and with trusted tools (ask me for some suggestions).
  2. As London Transport is so fond of saying: ‘Mind the Gap!’ What gaps between your ideal future vision of yourself and your current reality do you need to work on? What are the priorities?
  3. Our productivity is a key element when it comes to future proofing ourselves, answer these questions for yourself. How are you building your productive capacity? How robust are your current workload and priority management processes? How much productivity do you squeeze out of your  office and mobile tools compared to their productive capacity? Given that you probably can’t work harder what steps could you take to work smarter?
  4. How are you going to close the gap? There are many options open to you. This blog is in part subtitled  ‘Insights and hindsights on living purposefully. I carry the wounds of past wars into my work as much as I absorb, synthesise and implement new thinking and new technologies into the way I work with clients. I’m happy to share ideas if you get in touch.
  5. Take one good business book, a highlighter and a journal with you on holiday and develop a prioritised action plan to implement upon your return. Again, get in touch with an area you want to develop within and I will suggest a couple of the (far too many) books I read every year.

I will leave the last word on the report to Chris Humphries CBE, Chief Executive of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, who said:

‘At the moment, our economy is still world-class – quite an achievement for such a small island.  But we’re living on past glories.  Economic success rests on three legs – skills, jobs and productivity – and we are well below average on the first of these. Unless swift and decisive action is taken, we can expect the UK’s economy to begin to slide down the international rankings.’

Your own job, your career or your business success rests on 2 of those legs: Skills and Productivity. I can help you with both. It starts when you get in touch.

You can access the full report and a 2-page executive summary here: